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The standard bike water bottle is made from a polycarbonate called Bisphenol-A (PBA). It's light, stain resistant and durable; it has for the longest of time been considered the ideal material. Over the years concerns that PBA can leach into liquid have prompted a slue of studies. Depending on whom you talk to BPA is perfectly harmless, even regularity agencies in the US, Canada and Europe maintain that any trace amounts ingested is safe.

However a growing number of scientists disagree. Recent preliminary findings released on 14th April 2008, from a study conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) have concluded that BPA can cause hormonal imbalances, increase the risk of cancer and can even hamper fertility.

Washing your bottles with harsh detergent, in boiling water or in a dishwasher can contribute to an increase in leaching; fatigued and old plastic is also prone. To decrease the chances of excess leaching it is advised to wash your bottles in luke warm water with a soft detergent, that's all ok in theory but not when your bottle is caked in mud and other dubious substances.

But all is not lost; companies such as Camelbak, Specialized and Nalgene have all recently introduced new bottles to there line that are 100% BPA free.